Review by SentaiSeiya
The guardian of the Houses of Leo, Aioria, plays a major role in the Saint Seiya series. As a matter of fact, Kurumada had originally intended him to be the main character of the series, but opted for Seiya instead. As a result, he is one of the Gold Saints with a better developed character. Leo Aioria is the brother of Sagittarius Aioros, who is branded a traitor for supposedly trying to kill Athena. In spite of the ridicule Aioria receives for being the brother of a traitor, he pushes himself to prove his loyalty to Athena and the Pope.
He is so loyal to Athena that he is willing to kill her and the Bronze Saints just to prove it! In his defense, he was not aware that Saori Kido was in fact Athena. The first stop on his tour of misguided-loyalty butt-whoopings is the hospital where the Bronze Saint Seiya is recovering from his previous battle. They say that the power difference between a Gold Saint and a Bronze Saint is like the difference between a bug and a human, so Seiya's defeat is practically guaranteed. Aioria does not succeed however, because the Sagittarius Cloth of his brother appears to protect Seiya. Aioria discovers the truth surrounding Athena’s attempted murder and confronts the Pope. The Pope does not take kindly to Aioros' accusation and replies with his “Illusion Demon Emperor's Fist” , which brainwashes Aioria into doing the Pope’s bidding.
Thanks to Seiya’s rival from his training days, Seiya is able to break the Pope’s hold on Aioria. As one of the surviving Gold Saints from the battle of the 12 Houses, Leo Aioria faces the Specters of Hades alongside the five Bronze Saints in the Hades story arc.
The packaging for Leo is the same format as the Gemini EX: a square “Pandora Box” with three of the four sides the same as the EX Gemini, and one of the sides depicting the Leo symbol. Again, there is a beautiful glossy sleeve cover for the box, with pictures and info about the product.
The figure has the same slim build as the EX Gemini.
The proportions seem a bit off on Leo when he is wearing his armor. This is mostly due to having larger shoulder pads than the EX Gemini, that create the illusion of having a slimmer, almost womanly midsection.
If you can get over this optical illusion, then the figure is looks freakin’ great!
He is much better looking than the original release, which was the first of the Gold Saints to receive the Myth Cloth treatment. This unfortunately meant that it was plagued by bulky armor, and the most debilitating disease of the Saint Cloth Myth line, which a friend and I have termed “Baby Head Syndrome”, referring to the oddly large heads of the early Saint Cloth Myth figure, like the big head of a baby before they "grow into" their head.
Bandai did alleviate this problem by releasing a much needed Appendix for Leo with a better head sculpt and slimmer plastic armor for the upper body. Unfortunately, the Leo Appendix has become very rare and fetches premium prices on the secondary market. With the EX release Bandai has given fans another chance to own a Leo with good proportions and a good face sculpt.
On the subject of faces, Bandai included five different ones: neutral; gritting his teeth (bearing his fangs as a lion); shouting; red-eyed, evil face for when he was under the control of the Pope; and eyes closed.
The headpiece for the EX has been scaled down, much like the Appendix was, so that it is proportionate to the rest of the figure (one could argue that the original release’s headpiece was proportionate to the head, but as I mentioned, he had a big head!) The headpiece for the EX was also better sculpted than the original and on par with the Appendix.
Bandai also included an extra smaller chest piece for posing Leo in his signature Lighting Plasma.
The thigh armor is not only longer, but also stays in place better much better than the thigh armor for the original (see the Athena Exclamation pose picture with both Leo figures). All around, the armor for the Ex line has a snug fit on the body of the figures. As I mentioned with the Gemini EX, the hands on this line fall off fairly easily. Thanks to the tight fit of the armor, however, you don’t end up with the armor flying off the arm if you do happen to pop off the hand. It is also worth noting that the original Leo had golden accents on the waist and leg armor, but are these are not present in the EX version. Therefore, it seems that Bandai used the Leo from the original series as reference for the lower leg armor, since the accents were added to Leo’s armor in the Hades Chapter animation, which creates an inconsistency since the EX line seems to be modeled after the Hades Chapter style.
Like the armor for the EX Gemini, Leo’s armor is almost all diecast metal, with the exception of the headpiece, the waist armor, and the jewel piece on the skirt armor. We are also treated once again to the sweet three-piece cape that was included with the EX Gemini.
The skirt armor is double hinged, like the EX Gemini, for added leg mobility. The shoulder pads have the same swivel joint as the EX Gemini, though they are a bit more restrictive because they are one solid piece of metal.
The object mode lion looks pretty cool and is also fairly easy to put together.
This figure offers the same great mobility of the Gemini EX, with one improvement. The Leo EX’s legs actually fold all the way back up, whereas with the Gemini EX they could only be bent back into a 90 degree angle. I wonder if this either a flaw with my Gemini, or just something that was improved with the Leos in general. In terms of articulation, the EX Leo comes out way ahead of the original release.
There has been a fair amount of debate amongst Saint Cloth Myth collectors as to whether the EX or the original release with the Appendix is superior. Owning the Leo and the Appendix, I did not really like the new version when it was announced. Upon comparing the two, however, the EX comes out ahead in almost every aspect. The only thing that the Appendix-ed Leo has over the Ex is its manlier, stout physique. Other than that, the EX is the way to go!